Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Indexed Job Bank Available for Peterborough

The system now provides separate coverage of the Brantford, Hamilton and Niagara areas in one series of weekday listings, and of the Peterborough and Kawarthas area in another series.

Please let me know your experience of using the listings with job seekers.

I really must mention that this product is still under development. Although it does work with Internet Explorer it works best with Firefox. You will also notice that when it offers to provide information related to postal codes this might be for the postal codes for placement agencies, rather than for actual job locations.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Stories: Not Tellers, Rather Motivators & Teachers

Prompted by Rob Straby's recent post, I've just be musing over Hansen's article about storytelling as it applies to the process of building a career, entitled “Plotting the Story of Your Ideal Career.” As the title implies, this article is intended as advice from a counsellor to a person hoping to pursue a more rewarding career, and the advice is about how the client might use storytelling to gain an understanding of their past and to script their future.

Although the article might well prove useful to counsellors seeking to aid clients in constructing stories there seems to be nothing in the article about how to aid clients in making sense of their own stories. I would therefore say that, in the absence of other articles in this area, we need more discussion about how one should proceed when using this counselling approach.

What skills would a good counsellor have who wants to do this kind of work?

I hope that no-one would expect me to say at this point! However, it does seem to me that the skills would be in two broad categories:
  • The counsellor should be able to motivate the client to continue with the task of completing stories to their own satisfaction, without imposing the counsellor's biases.
  • The counsellor should be somewhat like a good literature teacher who is able to induce students to probe for motifs, themes, metaphors, and so on that are within the realm of meaning of the client. In other words, the counsellor needs to be able to guide the client in exploring the client's own stories for meaning.
I cannot possibly have said anything new. At least these thoughts are no longer running around in my head. I really need to acknowledge an intellectual debt to people like Michael Mead, Richard Rorty and, not least, Rob Straby for making me aware of the importance of stories and literature.

Where Can Clients Store Resumes?


Many counselling agencies have their clients saving their résumés on diskettes. This has always caused a certain amount of trouble what with diskettes becoming defective and diskettes being forgotten in drives by clients, and so on. What might finally end this practice is the fact that manufacturers are, in many cases, no longer shipping new computers that are equipped with diskette drives. So: where should clients save their résumés?

One option would be to equip each computer intended for use by clients with a CD writer. However, as we will indicate here, this would be an unnecessary expense provided that the computer is provided with an Internet connection.

A solution that is more convenient than using a CD writer is to use one of the free services like box.net. In fact, one can use box.net for storing relatively small, complete files of any kind, including cover letters and portfolio items such as photos and sample documents. The client simply accesses www.box.net to create their own account (for which they will need a valid email address) and, once they have done that, the basic operations of storing and retrieving files are quite straightforward. The service on box.net is especially valuable to clients without their own computers at home because box.net is equipped with word processing facilities that apply to MS Word-type documents. Using thes storage and processing facilities, and the client's own email account, it should usually be possible for the client to apply for jobs even from places that must offer fairly restrictive access such as public libraries.

It must be said that box.net is not as easy to use as a diskette. BUT, at this point in history, for the number of applications that a job seeker must usually submit to land a job it's probably worth learning the drill.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Results in resumes for credit managers

We all know that employers look for quantified results in résumés. For those of us who are non-experts in a given field it’s seldom obvious how those results should be expressed though. Because I’ve been working with a couple of people in corporate collections and credit management recently I’ve learned of two measures that I will pass on here: they are cash targets and D.S.O.

If you’re like me and know little about accounting then you can find introductory information about things like D.S.O. in the Investopedia.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Supporting clients with notefish.com


When you've done some research on behalf of a client where can you put the results? You could send them an email. You could even send them an email with the results as an attachment. However, if you update the research or suggestions more than once or twice the series of emails will soon become confusing (possibly for both of you!).

Consider notefish.com as an alternative: Open an account for your exclusive, personal use, for all of your clients. When you need to begin recording research for a client create a new folder for that client. (I often use a folder name consisting of the person's surname and first initial separated by an underscore.) For each separate item of research for the client create one notefish note and copy text or URLs into the note and add an appropriate title. Now share the folder (see "shared" at the top of the page) and give the client the full name of their folder. Whenever you modify the contents of the client's folder significantly just call or email to let them know.

Part of a typical notefish client folder appears above. The URLs are all "live". In face, if you create a collection of searches for your client on, say, the Job Bank then you can copy them into a notefish note and then the client can rerun them every day or two from notefish, without the need to reconstruct them repeatedly. Meanwhile, all or most of the other strategy that you have agreed with you client are visible to them right there on the notefish page.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Word-indexed and sorted list of Job Bank jobs

A couple of months ago I posted an item about making jobs listing easier for job seekers to use. An updated version of the series of listings presented in that posted is available here, updated more or less daily. They are for the area extending from Brantford, Ontario through the Niagara peninsula.

The job vacancies are grouped by Canadian NOC codes in the column on the right. The column on the left consists, first of all, of an alphabetised list of the words drawn from the job titles that appear in the right column. Under each of the words is the list of job titles in which the word appears. For example, on most days there are jobs for apprentices. By scanning down the list of words in the left column to "apprentice" one can find a complete list of the jobs whose titles mention this word. Click on one of the titles and the entry corresponding to it will appear in the right column. Click again on the title, in the right column this time, and the entire advertisement from the Job Bank will be displayed in a new window.

The motivation behind offering the alphabetised list of words is that it might suggest previously unthought-of occupational possibilities to job seekers. Once a suitable job title has been identified using the righthand list and the job title clicked all of the vacancies in the same NOC category will be found adjacent to it in the left list. The purpose of this arrangement is to save job seekers time that could better be spent networking and marketing themselves.

Let me know what you think!